A Chef’s Pilgrimage for a Better Gluten-Free World
Gluten-free options seem to be everywhere these days, and that’s no surprise, with a recent study showing that one in 100 people are diagnosed with celiac disease. With so many people falling victim to gluten intolerance, many chefs are beginning to create gluten-free dishes so that food lovers with celiac disease can still enjoy a delicious meal.
Such is the case with acclaimed chef Scott Riesenberger of the beautiful Hudson at Haymount House in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. The chef, who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009, sat down with us to give us some tips for living (and eating) gluten-free — or at least gluten-free-friendly. His first suggestion? Realize that, really, gluten-free just means flour-free.
"You can create gluten-free food easily; you just eliminate flour," says Riesenberger. "I think there are enough products out there that you can get a similar result, or at least sustain that wanting of gluten products in your life."
And for chef Riesenberger, creating a menu at his restaurant that is celiac-friendly is all about making as many delicious options as possible accessible to everyone. Because he has first-hand knowledge of the disease and all it entails, Riesenberger has an advantage in creating delicious, gluten-free dishes within a menu that still includes good old-fashioned wheat.
"I don’t cook gluten-free; I cook gluten-free-friendly. I still allow gluten in the restaurant. For me, it’s about creating barriers," he explains. "A chef who has the disease is the best-case scenario for a diner who has it — because I’ve only had the disease for three years now, I’m able to create these dishes and not have to taste them but to know what they taste like from my experience over the years."
The major difference in using a wheat-flour alternative such as almond flour, he continues, is texture; flavors can actually been enhanced when using these natural gluten-free products. "I think the products end up being richer without gluten, and they have more natural flavors happening. Gluten becomes filler — flour itself doesn’t really taste good, unless you bake it or add stuff. But almonds or rice, they taste good on their own," he says.
While we encourage you to take a trip from the city to visit this spectacular manor for its delicious food and grand views, we insist you try Riesenberger’s food as soon as possible. So here are a few of his gluten-free recipes for you to try at home to get a taste of the food he’s creating — for all of you wheat lovers and gluten-avoiders alike, we promise they won’t disappoint.
"The pork belly in this recipe is braised in a gluten-free beer brine so that even the most wheat-intolerant can enjoy this sophisticated twist on a sandwich classic."
—The Daily Meal Cook Editors
"The secret to this gnudi recipe is a yeast ingredient that helps to thicken the dairy, and, of course, the smoking of the cheese."
— The Daily Meal Cook Editors
"This recipe provides a gluten allergy-friendly graham cracker that makes it easy for everyone to enjoy the sticky snack."
— The Daily Meal Cook Editors
Daisy Melamed is a freelance writer based out of New York City, and also writes for the New York Daily News and New York Magazine, among others.